Devotion

But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever,

the purposes of his heart through all generations.

Psalm 33:11

I’ve just finished the rough first draft of my third novel and it’s bad. The prose is ugly and the plot needs major surgery, but that’s why they call it a rough draft, right? It’s not supposed to be pretty at this stage. Over the next two months, I’ll clean it up, put a nice dress on it (well, maybe more like a scary costume since it’s a suspense novel) and you won’t even recognize it when it’s done.

Isn’t that kind of like us? We’re always a work in progress, continually being fixed up by God’s loving guidance. Only, we won’t ever reach the point of being done (this side of heaven). Sometimes I think it sounds exhausting to know I’m going to work on myself until I die, but I get it, I really do. Because I know even after I call this novel done, I’ll pick it up six months from now and want to change something. Not much, just a little tweak to make the prose run smoother or heighten the suspense. But a little tweak can make a big difference in the overall effect. And God loves us enough to keep tweaking us day after day.

Thankfully, God never has plot problems. He never has gaps or holes in His plan. And, unlike me with my characters, He doesn’t sit around wondering what other crazy stuff He can do to us. He knows what’s coming. Sometimes He helps us to prepare and sometimes He just helps us make it through. But always He keeps the plan of His Kingdom moving forward.

Dear Lord, thank you for being the ultimate plotter. You have a plan even when things seem to come at me randomly. Guide me and help me to see these events as You do. In Jesus’s name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Every day scientists discover more amazing things about our God-designed bodies. In 2005, scientists isolated a natural pain-killer from human saliva. Studies in rats show it’s even more powerful at blocking pain than morphine, without the dependency issues. Scientists are still working out the potential of this substance called opiorphin (no, I’m not making this up). I found the original article cited below, along with many other articles in 2006, but only a few studies on it since then. The chemical apparently breaks down easily in our gut (go figure, since it’s in saliva), so maybe researchers are still working on how to deliver the chemical for pain relief in a human? In the rats, they injected the opiorphin into their paws.

Our bodies are such incredible chemical factories. I imagine God smiling every time we isolate another piece of his handy work.

If anyone else finds out more about this, please let me know.

Reference: http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn10514-naturalborn-painkiller-found-in-human-saliva.html

Photo Credit: ID 34452628 © Citalliance | Dreamstime.com

Fossil layers like layers of a cake?

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

               Different layers of rock                               Layers of yummy chocolate cake

I love to bake, not regular food, but anything sweet, especially when it’s chocolate. Have you seen the cake that looks like the death star from Star Wars? I haven’t tried to make that one yet, but it looks amazing. Recently, I was thinking how the earth is like a gigantic death star cake (no, I don’t have too much time on my hands, but this weird stuff just floats through my head all the time). Anyway, go with me on this, you’ve all made mud pies before, right? Same thing.

So the layers in the cake are the different rock formations (sandstone, shale, limestone, etc.). Although the cake above isn’t the death star, I hope you can see the similarities? And if you bake a cake one layer at a time, you know the bottom layers were created first, followed by the next layer and then the layer on top and it’s the same with rocks. What we see on the surface of the earth are the last layers laid down, or the youngest layers. We know they are the youngest, but does anything about the layers tell us how long it took to bake the cake? Nope. And neither does the existence of rock layers tell us how long they took to form. Rocks don’t come with a year stamped on them and the supposed dates obtained from radiometric age dating have serious problems (more on this in future posts). Which leaves us with more questions than answers. Questions like:

Why do we find rocks stratified by fossil animals? Evolutionists will tell you that we find more primitive animals at the bottom of the strata (rock layers) because they are the ancestors of those higher in the strata. Seems to make sense, right? Unless there’s a different explanation.

If a global flood happened today, on the scale of Noah’s flood, we’d likely see the same fossils in the same rock layers after it was over. Not because the animals are related, but because they live in different habitats. The sea bottom dwelling creatures live at lower elevations and during a flood, they would be overwhelmed and smothered by mud. Amphibians live at a slightly higher elevation, but must stay close to water in order to breed, so they would be in layers just above the lower sea life. Reptiles and mammals would likely run to higher ground and then float after death, causing them to be found in higher rock layers. The only humans who would survive a violent flood like this today would be those on an aircraft carrier or maybe a submarine. In Noah’s time, no other humans, besides him, had seen the need to build a huge boat like the ark.

So, we would see much the same sequence of rocks with the same fossils of animals that weren’t related, just buried in sequence based on habitat.

Marine creatures—Amphibians—Reptiles—Mammals

Are there any fossils that cross over? Yes, but when geologists find a fossil which doesn’t belong, they typically call it in-fill from the layers above or they might say the whole sequence has been re-worked (meaning eroded and stirred up). Why do they believe the sequence was re-worked? Because the fossils are out of order. They are forced into this type of circular reasoning because there is no way to explain how those fossils got there without invalidating the theory of evolution.

What do you think? Which explanation for the distribution of fossils makes sense to you? One or both of them?

 

Photo Credits: Rock formation: ID 25013280 © Rixie | Dreamstime.com, Cake: ID 11609930 © Adina Chiriliuc | Dreamstime.com

Devotion

His speech persuaded them. They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and let them go.

The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ.

Acts 5:40-42

Who in this world would volunteer to be persecuted? Did you raise your hand? I wouldn’t. Let’s be honest, most people want to live quiet lives surrounded by those who love and respect them. I’m no exception to this rule. But the apostles had a different perspective. They knew and appreciated the value of persecution.

A friend, who recently went on a mission trip, told me that believers in lands where they experience daily persecution feel sorry for us. Can you believe it? They feel sorry for us.

Why? Because we have such comfy, safe lives. As the apostles did, these persecuted believers count it an honor to suffer for the name of Jesus. They understand what we have forgotten in this country—without the hardship, there is no testimony.

Let me say that again loudly:

Without the hardship, there is no testimony.

If you and I want to have something to say about Jesus that will impact other people it won’t be: “God blessed me with this big house and my new Lexus.”

But it might sound more like: “God held my hand through disappointment, heartache, fear, anguish and I learned I could trust Him with everything.”

Dear Lord, remind us daily what it means to take up our cross for You. Though we may never be in danger of execution in this country, let us bear gracefully those hardships You allow into our lives. Let our testimony reflect Your amazing grace. In Jesus’s precious name, amen.

Fun Science Fact

dreamstimefree_192698

Fun Facts about Red Heads

  • Red is the rarest of all hair colors because the trait is recessive (which mean both parents must have the trait for it to be expressed in the offspring).
  • Red hair with blue eyes is the rarest combination because both traits are recessive.
  • The United States has the highest population of red heads—6-18 million, or 2-6% of the population. The range in data comes from the difference in categorizing red heads. For instance, did the researchers count strawberry blondes or reddish-brown haired individuals?
  • Men are twice as likely to have red hair as women.
  • In ancient Egypt, red heads were buried alive as a sacrifice to the god Osiris.
  • Red heads are twice as likely to get Parkinsons and also require 20% more anesthesia during surgery (the reason for these two associations has not been determined).
  • Natural red hair is harder to dye because it holds its pigment more than the other colors.
  • The actual cause of red hair is due to a mutation on the MC1R gene located on chromosome 16.
  • Barring a worldwide catastrophe, the red headed trait will never completely die out. The number of red heads may decrease, but because the trait is recessive, it can skip generations, which means red heads will always be with us.

I’m not a red head, but I have several friends who are. I applaud them as a unique creation designed by God. He loves diversity and He is diverse in his love.

References: http://www.eupedia.com/genetics/origins_of_red_hair.shtml, http://facts.randomhistory.com/redhead-facts.html, Hairdresser Nora Fortune with Salon Aria

Photo Credit: © Deni Barbay | Dreamstime Stock Photos

The Splendid Spleen

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Do you know what your spleen is? Do you know where your spleen is?

I’ll confess that, prior to reading an article about it, I had heard of the spleen—meaning I knew it was in my body somewhere—but I had no idea where or why it was there.

Turns out the spleen is a pretty amazing organ. It has several functions having to do with the blood. About 4% of our blood is passing through the spleen at any given moment. It stores blood platelets, approximately one-third of the body’s platelets to be exact (those things that help your blood coagulate so you don’t bleed to death from a paper cut). It filters our blood for microorganisms and other foreign particles. And it also removes damaged and worn-out red blood cells.

Red blood cells circulate through our bodies for about 120 days before they wear out. The walls of the spleen are specially designed to detect and remove these worn-out cells, along with any defective ones. For this reason, getting into the spleen is easier than getting out. Red blood cells wanting to leave the spleen must squeeze through the walls of special blood vessels, called sinusoids. These blood vessels have elongated walls with small openings. To pass through, the red blood cell has to squeeze so tightly that both sides of the cell membrane touch. If any red blood cell shows a lack of flexibility or an abnormality during this process, it is destroyed by nearby cells. The iron is then recycled to make new red blood cells. God invented recycling before we did!

While you can live without a spleen (your liver can take up much of its functions), medical science makes it clear that God designed this organ for several specific purposes to help with our blood. He even made sure it was well protected—on the left side of our body, under the rib cage and tucked behind our stomach—because an injury to this organ would cause massive bleeding. Thank you Lord for Your creative genius displayed inside of us.

Reference: Menton, David. “The Mysterious Spleen.” Answers Magazine. Oct.-Dec. 2011, vol. 6 (4) p. 68-71

Photo Credit: ID 30057931 © Decade3d | Dreamstime.com